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Austin Vince on motorbike

An Interview with...Austin Vince

Austin Vince is the third in our series of “adventurous interviews” and was nominated by his equally adventurous wife Lois Pryce.  Austin has motorcycled round the world not once but twice (Mondo Enduro, and Terra Circa) making TV documentaries about his trips.

He co-founded the Adventure Travel Film Festival with his wife which runs every year in August as a way of providing inspiration and encouragement to budding travellers, adventurers and explorers.

We had an enlightening chat just before he set off on his next adventure and here is what he had to say:-

1. What are your top 3 places in the world?

The places I’ve been to where I’ve had experiences with the locals that completely reversed my preconceptions of what that area of the world was like are:-

Soviet Union - I went to the Far East of Siberia in 1995 on my first motorcycle trip and it blew my mind.

Iran is exceptional and I can’t stop talking about it because it has the nicest humans in the world.

Mexico has the best food and the nicest people.

2. Where’s the weirdest place you’ve slept?

In 1996 I was touring round the world and there were four of us on motorbikes and after thousands of miles we found ourselves in Brussels on our last night. We ended up camping, completely hidden from view right in the middle of a museum car park underneath a weeping willow. We were able to ride into it and the willow completely concealed us. It felt like a particular coup to camp in the middle of the city undiscovered.

3. What’s the one thing you don’t go on an adventure without?

The obvious thing would be to say a penknife, but in fact the most important thing is having an open mind and a willingness for something to happen that you never thought would happen.

4. Who was your role model growing up?

In 1978 my sister Isobel set off on her own at the age of 19 and headed to India overland.  She would send back Aerogramme letters and Mum would read my sisters adventures of her travels as a solo woman to us at the kitchen table.  So I grew up thinking travel and adventure was normal.

5. How did you get into going on adventures – what was your first adventure as a teenager?

At the age of 10 I was fascinated by trains and my friend and I would buy an all zone London railcard and we would be allowed to go off and find all of the rail depots round London.   We would try and get into the places where all the locomotives were kept and we’d scribble down the numbers until we were caught by the traffic police and booted out. 

6. What’s your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is getting Lois Pryce to marry me.  We are such a perfect match and I realized that immediately as soon as I met her and I just had to convince her.  We share the same passions listening to 50’s rock and roll music and she’s a lot of fun.

7. Do you have any adventures coming up?Austin Vince Twinshock Trailfinder LR

My answer is a question – “what is YOUR next adventure?”

Lois and I run the Adventure Travel Film Festival and we encourage other people to do stuff. Many people think that the stuff they see is beyond them.

I’ve had some fantastic travel experiences. When I get back I reflect on how easy they were compared to normal obstacles in life like moving house or raising children. All of those are more difficult than going on adventure.

My goal is to encourage others to stop listening to the rubbish that it is too difficult or too hard and encourage them to enjoy themselves and go and do something unusual, somewhere unusual.

8. This year is our 25th anniversary, so we’re looking for 25 people to go on an adventure for us! What would be your top tip for people who are thinking about going on their first adventure?

Just do it!  Don’t talk about it – DO IT.  Decide what it is, set a date and tell everyone, then you’re committed.

9. What is your favourite expedition snack?

I’m not the type of adventurer who has all his expedition snacks in his rucksack. For me it would be the experience of drinking vodka with 4 Russian truckers in a layby in Siberia.

10. Can you nominate someone inspiring for us to interview next?

I’m going to nominate Olie Hunter Smart who is walking India on his own.  His first project was to canoe down the Amazon and now he is walking 2,600 miles through India exploring and learning from the people with a particular focus on understanding more about Indian independence.

 

Find out more about Austin's adventures at:

www.austinvince.com

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